Rural Residents’ Depressive Symptoms and Help-Seeking Preferences: Opportunities for Church-Based Intervention Development

  • Addie WeaverEmail author
  • Joseph Himle
  • Mark Elliott
  • Jessica Hahn
  • Deborah Bybee
Original Paper


This study examines rural residents’ depressive symptoms, helps seeking preferences and perceptions of a church-based group depression intervention, informing feasibility of adapting evidence-based treatment for delivery in rural churches. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 100 members of 2 churches in a rural Midwestern community; 63 congregants responded. Depression was assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Descriptive analyses were performed, and 12.9% of respondents screened positive for depression. Another 25% reported mild symptomatology. Respondents preferred informal help seeking, although reported more openness to formal providers to address others’ depression. Results suggest receptivity to church-based treatment. Almost two-third of respondents reported they would consider attending a church-based group depression intervention, 80% would recommend it to a friend in need, and 60% indicated it would benefit their community. Delivering evidence-based depression treatment within church settings may provide a viable option for increasing access to care in this rural community.


Rural mental health Depression Help-seeking preferences Church-based intervention Access to mental health care 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Hillsdale Church of the NazareneHillsdaleUSA
  4. 4.Trinity Lutheran ChurchHillsdaleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Community PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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